De-centrifuedalised or tropicalization: Marx outside the Euro-American Circuits

So, a bit bemused at the appearance of various Marx readers or ‘companions’ filled with US and UK based scholars, mostly, I thought it worth pointing to a few other irruptions of old beardo in the world.

Saurav Kumar offers this short read about misreading Marx, the horror of Modi, and experiments between communists and Ambedkarites:  https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/05/marx-resonates-after-200-years/

While experiments in truth are the topic, this piece in The Hindu by Ramin Jahanbegloo, the Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Peace at Jindal Uni, is both trying to retrieve Marx from a bad rep and ‘nonsense’ accusations, and making some strange associations of his own about our ‘Socratic Gadfly’ walking to the British Museum every day but, allegedly, preferring dry tomes of philosophy than talking to the British masses!! Also cites Raymond Aron! Still: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/karl-marx-200-years-later/article23776934.ece

Famed scholar Armatya Sen manages to promote Satyajit Ray’s film, Agantuk in this piece. Also funny on Hamlet, the Nobel Laureate references Hobsbawn and 1955 Labour Party stuff (the days of Rajani Palme-Dutt in the CPGB should have got in here to – debates with). Sen is not yet embalmed: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/karl-marx-philosophy-200th-birth-anniversary-5163799/

As a contrast, one could ‘sharpen and deepen’ one’s understanding according to last years (199) version of this sort of thing (what is this sort of thing?) from the CPI(M): http://www.cpim.org/views/marx-today%E2%80%99s-world

OK, CMP stuff comes in various forms, but there is life in the old dog yet. Comrade Vijay Prashad, much respected, imagined Marx reading the blue books (I want to link to my forthcoming on the Blue Books, but its not out yet). LeftWord is one of the best new(ish) publishers in India so check out the blog and sales list too : http://blog.leftword.com/marx-turns-200/

The comrades of CPI M-L are serious about scholarship as well – this piece by Amitabha Chakrabarti at the 200 bicentenary commemoration is worth a read for its discussion of ground rent, agriculture and modes of production debates,though repeats a slight distortion in saying that in ‘last decade of his study Marx wrote about 30000 pages on Russian agriculture’ – Kevin Anderson is on the case, 30k notes in the last decade sure, but not all on agriculture. Yet, this is a healthy change of perspective from the Euro-Am usual fodder: http://cpimlnd.org/a-study-note-on-transition-of-agriculture-marxist-problematic-after-publication-of-capital-1867/

And just as a taster, meanwhile in Vietnam (and I do want to do a roundup for several other non-centrifuegalisms), this piece describes a presentation in Ha Noi by Nguyễn Xuân Thắng, Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam Central Committee, Chairman of the Central Theoretical Council and Director of the Hồ Chí Minh National Political Academy. The text gives a bit of a flavour of how things can look quite different when you are winning. All students study Mac-Len Nin, relevant to the country and the world: http://vietnamnews.vn/politics-laws/427407/marxism-bears-eternal-value-for-world-and-the-vietnamese-revolution.html#lOuJOpWeBRpLvlF3.97

 

Lal Salaam.

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Marx’s 200th birth anniversary is in a week. what’s planned? [please add what’s on in your city]

marx cakeThe next few pages are a quick round up of what’s on for Old Beardo’s 200th. Add more in the comments please.

Many of these are linking to Facebook, sorry, but the ungated web is gone…

[The cake in the image to the side was made by my Capital reading group/class circa 2005].

Celebrating 200 Years of Karl Marx

Karl Marx, in full Karl Heinrich Marx (born May 5, 1818, Trier and died March 14, 1883, London, England) was a philosopher, revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist. Marx and Freud have influenced life and literature in the twentieth century more deeply and extensively than the earlier great thinkers and scientists like Copernicus and Darwin influenced the life and literature in their own respective eras.. He published The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, anticapitalist works that form the basis of Marxism. It was Capital’s 150th anniversary in autumn 2017, the 170th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto will be in February 2018, and it would have been Karl Marx’s 200th birthday in May 2018. The Communist Party of the Philippines calls on all Filipino workers to start a year-long commemoration and celebration of Marx’s 200th birthday on May 5, 2018. The whole revolutionary movement must salute Karl Marx’ and Marxism’s great role in history and in the continuing world struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat and the entire humanity. This celebration is of great relevance to the working class, from politics to philosophy to academics as Karl Marx made a lasting imprint on the face of history. The Centre for Positive Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies (CPPIS) has also an intention to commemorate the 200 years of Karl Marx by various activities including essay competition, seminar, special issues and books on this great thinker.

 

National Level Essay Writing Competition on “The Philosophy of Karl Marx”

Centre for Positive Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies (CPPIS)

Pehowa (Kurukshetra)-136128 Haryana
http://positivephilosophy.webs.com or http://www.cppiskkr.com

Celebrating 200 Years of Karl Marx

National Level Essay Writing Competition on “The Philosophy of Karl Marx”

5th May, 2018

cropped-images

The Centre for Positive Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies (CPPIS) Pehowa (Kurukshetra) on the occasion of the World Philosophy Day-2017 and 200th Birth Anniversary of Karl Marx, going to organize a National Level Essay Writing Competition on “The Philosophy of Karl Marx”. The competition aims at giving an opportunity to the youth of country to come across the various aspects of the philosophy of Karl Marx and his contribution to the world of knowledge.

About Karl Marx:

”Karl Marx, in full Karl Heinrich Marx (born May 5, 1818, Trier and died March 14, 1883, London, England) was a philosopher, revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist. Marx and Freud have influenced life and literature in the twentieth century more deeply and extensively than the earlier great thinkers and scientists like Copernicus and Darwin influenced the life and literature in their own respective eras.. He published The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, anticapitalist works that form the basis of Marxism. It was Capital’s 150th anniversary in autumn 2017, the 170th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto will be in February 2018, and it would have been Karl Marx’s 200th birthday in May 2018. The Communist Party of the Philippines calls on all Filipino workers to start a year-long commemoration and celebration of Marx’s 200th birthday on May 5, 2018. The whole revolutionary movement must salute Karl Marx’ and Marxism’s great role in history and in the continuing world struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat and the entire humanity. This celebration is of great relevance to the working class, from politics to philosophy to academics as Karl Marx made a lasting imprint on the face of history. The Centre for Positive Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies (CPPIS) has also an intention to commemorate the 200 years of Karl Marx by various activities including essay competition, seminar, special issues and books on this great thinker”.

Eligibility: All students pursuing any Undergraduate or Post Graduate courses from recognized college/institute/university. Age limit is 25 years or below for this competition.

Prizes: Prizes will be given to top 5 entries and a certificate also provided to those who follow proper guidelines.

Submission Guidelines:

The essays submitted by the participants must be in ‘English and Hindi’ language only.

The essay must be typed in Microsoft Word with Times New Roman, Font size 12, 1.5 linear spacing.

Co-authorship is allowed.

Word Limit: 2000 Maximum words including footnotes.

The participants submitting an entry in this essay contest need to affirm that the entry is his/her own work. Plagiarism can lead to outright rejection of submission.

Criteria of Evaluation:

The criteria to be applied in evaluating the entries are:

• Originality of the content

• Creativity and Rationality

• Style and Presentation of content

• Clarity and proper citations

Registration and Submission:

There is no registration fee for this essay competition. Participants should submit their essay with 10th class certificate and institutional ID proof along with registration form till 31st March 2018 on the given address. An advance copy of all documents should be submitted before last date via email id cppiskkr@gmail.com

For any details, Contact:

Dr. Desh Raj Sirswal,

Department of Philosophy, P.G.Govt. College for Girls,

Sector-11, Chandigarh-160011. Mobile No.08288883993

Download details:

Essay Competition 2017-18

Registration Form Essay Cometition 2017-18

Celebration Page Link:
https://karlmarx200.wordpress.com

_______________________________________

Also:

https://rg.ru/2018/04/25/reg-szfo/v-peterburge-otkrylas-vystavka-k-200-letiiu-karla-marksa.html

_____________________________________

and in Brisbane:

Marx 200 Brisbane

https://www.facebook.com/events/440430439739049/

  • 12 May – 13 May
    12 May at 13:30 to 13 May at 17:00 UTC+10

    74B Wickham St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006, Australia

May 2018 signals 200 years since the birth of German revolutionary theorist Karl Marx. Famous for his call to revolution in the Communist Manifesto and his thorough critique of the capitalist system in Capital, Marx’s ideas had a huge impact on the political, social and cultural landscape of the 19th and 20th centuries.

But are Marx’s ideas relevant today in the era of the internet, automation, and climate change? Is clinging to Marx a sign of dogmatism or fetishisation of outdated ideas of social change?

We don’t think so – in an age where we are told that capitalism’s global dominance is virtually complete, yet seems increasingly incapable of offering a future for all of us, Marx has a lot to offer those who want to change the world today. This weekend of seminars, discussion sessions and forums will provide an introduction to Marx’s ideas, how they were conceived in his own time and what relevance they have for today’s burning political questions.

Instead of a rigid dogma, Marx’s ideas can be seen as a set of important tools for understanding our society, in its political, economic, ecological and cultural dimensions. These tools can then help us shape how we think about strategies for changing this society towards a vision of equality and freedom.

***Stay tuned for details on program and speakers***

This is a free event – though we’ll pass around a donations bucket at the event to help cover some basic costs.

DRAFT PROGRAM (a full program with speakers and session descriptions will be posted soon):

Saturday 12 May
1:30pm Opening Panel: Marx After the End of History

3:15pm Parallel Session 1:
– How Capitalism Works
– Marx and the Environment

5:00pm Parallel Session 2:
– Understanding Capitalist Crisis
– Colonialism, Imperialism, Marxism

6:30pm Marx’s 200th B’Day Bash (+ film screening)

Sunday 13 May
11:00am Parallel Session 3:
– Social Class, Class Identity, Class Struggle
– The Philosophy of Marx and Engels

12:45pm Lunch

1:30pm Parallel Session 4:
– The State, Elections, and Social Struggle
– Marx and Gender

3:30pm Closing Panel: Automate This: Marx and Labour in the 21st Century. Featuring:
– Humphrey McQueen, socialist historian and cultural commentator, author of ‘A New Britannia’, ‘The Essence of Capitalism’, amongst many other titles
– Alison Pennington, unionist and political economist
– Feargal McGovern, organiser with Anti-Poverty Network Queensland and unite
– Max Chandler-Mather, state strategist for the Queensland Greens

________________________

Marx 200 at marx Memorial Library London.

A major international conference celebrating Marx’s work and exploring the significance of Marxism in the world today

Organised by the Marx Memorial Library on the bicentenary of Marx’s birth

9.45 – 10.45
Plenary: Marx’s contribution to political economy and its relevance today – why Marx was right
Chair: Harsev Bains
Speakers:
Ben Fine, Professor of Economics, SOAS, University of London
Luo Wendong, Professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Anne-Kathrin Krug, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Berlin

10.45 – 11.15 Coffee (refreshments not provided)

11.15 – 12.30 Parallel sessions
Marxism and the present as history
Chair: Vijay Prashad
Speakers:
John Foster, Emeritus Professor, Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland
Isabel Monal, Editor of Marx Ahora, a Cuban theoretical journal

Neoliberalism, austerity and Marx
Chair: John Foster
Speakers:
Ben Fine, Professor of Economics, SOAS, University of London
Denise Christie, Scottish Secretary, Fire Brigades Union

Capitalism and new technology – has Marx been eclipsed?
Chair: Ann Field
Speakers:
Ursula Huws, Professor of Labour and Globalisation. Hertfordshire School of Business
Alan Blackwell, Professor of Interdisciplinary Design, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

Class, race and gender: Marxism, exploitation and oppression
Chair: Will Sullivan
Speakers:
Mary Davis, Visiting Professor of Labour History at Royal Holloway, University of London
Sarah Mosoetsa, Associate Professor of Sociology, at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, CEO National Institute for Humanities & Social Science

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch (not provided)

13.30 – 14.45
Plenary: Marx, philosophy and human development – Marxism and the battle of ideas
Chair: Alex Gordon
Speakers:
David McLellan, Visiting Professor of Political Theory, Goldsmiths, University of London
Isabel Monal, Editor of Marx Ahora, a Cuban theoretical journal
Li Xiaoxiao, Deputy Director of Marxism Department at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

14.45 – 15.15 Coffee (refreshments not provided)

15.15 – 16.30 Parallel sessions
Marxism and culture
Chair: Bruni de la Motte
Speakers:
David Margolies, Emeritus Professor of English at Goldsmiths, University of London
Christine Lindey, Art historian and visual arts critic

Populist Nationalism
Chair: Nisar Ahmed
Speakers:
Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Francisco Dominguez, Head of Brazil and Latin American Studies, Middlesex University London

Marxism and the environment
Chair: Richard Clarke
Speakers:
Ted Benton, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Essex
John O’Neill, Hallsworth Chair in Political Economy, University of Manchester

The role of the state
Chair: Marj Mayo
Speakers:
Luo Wendong, Professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Vijay Prashad, Executive Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

16.30 – 17.45
Plenary: Into the 21st century: Marxism as a force for change today
Chair: Mary Davis
Speakers:
John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Sarah Mosoetsa, Professor of Sociology, at the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Johannesburg

____________________________
2 May at 12:3019:00 EDT
In celebration of Karl Marx’s 200th birthday, the History & Theory Workshop at the University of Virginia is hosting a conference of 4 panels to discuss the continuing relevance of Marx’s writings to our world today. No invitation or ticket is required, anyone who is interested is welcome, and you are encouraged to come ready to ask questions and engage with both panelists and other attendees.

Panels

Marx & Activism: 12:30-1:30
1. Gillet Rosenblith (History), “To Lose Your Housing is Double Jeopardy: Public Housing in the United States, 1969-2001.”
2. Monica Blair (History), “Charlottesville’s General Strike: Teaching Local Histories of Black Reconstruction.”
3. Anup Gampa (Psychology), “Implicit and Explicit Racial Attitudes Changed During Black Lives Matter”
4. Lou Cross (Political & Social Thought), “The Virginia Student Environmental Coalition and Environmental Justice”

Marx & (Anti)Fascism: 1:40-2:40
1. Robert Stolz (History), “Tosaka Jun: The Uses and Abuses of Feudalism”
2. Charles Hamilton (History), “Solidarity Not Surrender: British Anti-Fascism Since 1970.”
3. Nick Scott (History), “Revolutionary Space: Cordon Industrial Vicuna Mackenna and the Chilean Road to Socialism, 1972-1973”
4. John Tiernan Low (History/Linguistics), “The Center’s Tepid Friendship with the Alt-Right and its Historical Precedents”

Marx & Social Movements: 3:00-4:00
1. Crystal Luo (History), “Asian America and the Specter of Immigration Reform, 1968-1975.”
2. Sree Sathiamma (Global Studies), “The ‘Maintenance’ of Women”
3. Gio Senzano (Philosophy), “The Proletarization of the Puerto Rican”
4. Abeer Saha (History), “Animal Factory: The Rise of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, 1945-2000.”

Marx & Culture: 4:10-5:10
1. Brooks Hefner (English, JMU), “Political Economy and Popular Culture”
2. Chris Ali (Media Studies), “Marx and the Study of Media policy: Methodologies and Expectations”
3. Jordan Bridges (Political & Social Thought), “Marx as Moral Philosopher”
4. Justin McBrien (History), “Charlton Heston: Prophet of Eco-Apocalypse or Propagandist of Eco-Resilience?”

Keynote: English Faculty Lounge, Brooks Hall, 5:30-7:00,
1. Matthew Garrett (Wesleyan University), “Reading Is Theft”

Max Weber on India Key References

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 17.18.37At the bottom of one of my shelves, unopened since undergraduate honours days, I have Max Weber’s book on Religions of India. got to wondering recently how he did this research, so I am going to explore. I have the Merton and the Mills, I have Reinhard Bendix, Max Weber: an intellectual portrait, University of California Press, 1977 and I plan to reread The Cambridge Companion as I had bookmarked the Mike Love essay in that called “Weber’s Orient’ where he promises, but does not I think deliver, the sort of explanation I want: ‘The grand theme of rationalisation of culture with all the ramifications this entails thus in the end is the real focus of The Collected Essays on the Sociology of Religion, a monumental but unfinished work’ (Love, in Turner and Regis 2000). I also just got the editor of the Cambridge Companion, Stephen Turner’s book with Regis Factor: Max Weber: The Lawyer as Thinker and the first pages of that look very promising. Given the recent family court stuff I have been going through, it will be good to read something other than a how to guide about the law. Though maybe there is nothing but guides (the cover of Turner’s book was worth seeing for ideas for my own next, I nicked it for this post, and linked to the book so as to be fair). When I was a visiting fellow for a year in Heidelberg you could just see Weber’s old house across the river from the Shiffsgasse where I lived – I think it was a language school by then (late 90s). My hope is that there will be a way to link up the lawyer’s interest in sociology and India with the very evidently habitual thought in Marx where nearly every important move in of the argument in Capital is then followed by an India-focussed example, reference, or graphic-poetic aside – the bleached bones of weavers on the plains, the hideous pagan idol drinking nectar in the skulls of the slain.

What are the other things I ought to must read?

More Marx on Slavery

This fascinating article by Marx was in The People’s Paper, March 1953, and earlier in the NYDT, and about a third of it was carried over into Das Kapital (p758 in the German vol 1, and in the MEGA English trans II(9): 634) has some choice words on the enclosures, the and of the Highlanders – see the show Outlander, series 2 for the beginnings of just this, also Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped, and consider how on the ball old Beardo was, giving Harriet Beecher-Stowe of Uncle Tom’s Cabin fame a drubbing along the way.

“If of any property it ever was true that it was robbery, it is literally true of the property of the British aristocracy. Robbery of Church property, robbery of commons, fraudulent transformation, accompanied by murder, of feudal and patriarchal property into private property — these are the titles of British aristocrats to their possessions”

The rest of the article keeps on giving, strange links to an unexamined rendering of Asiatic India, romance of the pre-Feudal common ownership in property, and more. Whole thing excerpted below from:  https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1853/03/12.htm

UPDATE: William Dalrymple messages to point out Marx’s error in calling the Dalrymple lawyer English. Fair call. Marx gets things wrong on the odd occasion.

 

Articles by Karl Marx in The People’s Paper

The Duchess of Sutherland and Slavery


Published inThe People’s Paper, No. 45, March 12 1853;


London, Friday, January 21, 1853 — During the present momentary slackness in political affairs, the address of the Stafford House Assembly of Ladies to their sisters in America upon the subject of Negro-Slavery, and the “affectionate and Christian address of many thousands of the women of the United States of America to their sisters, the women of England”, upon white slavery, have proved a god-send to the press. Not one of the British papers was ever struck by the circumstance that the Stafford House Assembly took place at the palace under the Presidency of the Duchess of Sutherland, and yet the names of Stafford and Sutherland should have been sufficient to class the philanthropy of the British Aristocracy — a philanthropy which chooses its objects as far distant from home as possible, and rather on that than on this side of the ocean.

The history of the wealth of the Sutherland family is the history of the ruin and of the expropriation of the Scotch-Gaelic population from its native soil. As far back as the 10th century, the Danes had landed in Scotland, conquered the plains of Caithness, and driven back the aborigines into the mountains. Mhoir-Fhear-Chattaibh, as he was called in Gaelic, or the “Great Man of Sutherland”, had always found his companions-in-arms ready to defend him at risk of their lives against all his enemies, Danes or Scots, foreigners or natives. After the revolution which drove the Stuarts from Britain, private feuds among the petty chieftains of Scotland became less and less frequent, and the British Kings, in order to keep up at least a semblance of dominion in these remote districts, encouraged the levying of family regiments among the chieftains, a system by which these lairds were enabled to combine modern military establishments with the ancient clan system in such a manner as to support one by the other.

Now, in order to distinctly appreciate the usurpation subsequently carried out, we must first properly understand what the clan meant. The clan belonged to a form of social existence which, in the scale of historical development, stands a full degree below the feudal state; viz., the patriarchal state of society. “Klaen”, in Gaelic, means children. Every one of the usages and traditions of the Scottish Gaels reposes upon the supposition that the members of the clan belong to one and the same family. The “great man”, the chieftain of the clan, is on the one hand quite as arbitrary, on the other quite as confined in his power, by consanguinity, &c., as every father of a family. To the clan, to the family, belonged the district where it had established itself, exactly as in Russia, the land occupied by a community of peasants belongs, not to the individual peasants, but to the community. Thus the district was the common property of the family. There could be no more question, under this system, of private property, in the modern sense of the word, than there could be of comparing the social existence of the members of the clan to that of individuals living in the midst of our modern society. The division and subdivision of the land corresponded to the military functions of the single members of the clan. According to their military abilities, the chieftain entrusted to them the several allotments, cancelled or enlarged according to his pleasure the tenures of the individual officers, and these officers again distributed to their vassals and under-vassals every separate plot of land. But the district at large always remained the property of the clan, and, however the claims of individuals might vary, the tenure remained the same; nor were the contributions for the common defence, or the tribute for the Laird, who at once was leader in battle and chief magistrate in peace, ever increased. Upon the whole, every plot of land was cultivated by the same family, from generation to generation, under fixed imposts. These imposts were insignificant, more a tribute by which the supremacy of the “great man” and of his officers was acknowledged, than a rent of land in a modern sense, or a source of revenue. The officers directly subordinate to the “great man” were called “Taksmen”, and the district entrusted to their care, “Tak”. Under then were placed inferior officers, at the head of every hamlet, and under these stood the peasantry.

Thus you see, the clan is nothing but a family organized in a military manner, quite as little defined by laws, just as closely hemmed in by traditions, as any family. But the land is the property of the family, in the midst of which differences of rank, in spite of consanguinity, do prevail as well as in all the ancient Asiatic family communities.

The first usurpation took place, after the expulsion of the Stuarts, by the establishment of the family Regiments. From that moment, pay became the principal source of revenue of the Great Man, the Mhoir-Fhear-Chattaibh. Entangled in the dissipation of the Court of London, he tried to squeeze as much money as possible out of his officers, and they applied the same system of their inferiors. The ancient tribute was transformed into fixed money contracts. In one respect these contracts constituted a progress, by fixing the traditional imposts; in another respect they were a usurpation, inasmuch as the “great man” now took the position of landlord toward the “taksmen” who again took toward the peasantry that of farmers. And as the “great men” now required money no less than the “taksmen”, a production not only for direct consumption but for export and exchange also became necessary; the system of national production had to be changed, the hands superseded by this change had to be got rid of. Population, therefore, decreased. But that it as yet was kept up in a certain manner, and that man, in the 18th century, was not yet openly sacrificed to net-revenue, we see from a passage in Steuart, a Scotch political economist, whose work was published 10 years before Adam Smith’s, where it says (Vol.1, Chap.16):

“The rent of these lands is very trifling compared to their extent, but compared to the number of mouths which a farm maintains, it will perhaps be found that a plot of land in the highlands of Scotland feeds ten times more people than a farm of the same extent in the richest provinces.”

That even in the beginnings of the 19th century the rental imposts were very small, is shown by the work of Mr Loch (1820), the steward of the Countess of Sutherland, who directed the improvements on her estates. He gives for instance the rental of the Kintradawell estate for 1811, from which it appears that up to then, every family was obliged to pay a yearly impost of a few shillings in money, a few fowls, and some days’ work, at the highest.

It was only after 1811 that the ultimate and real usurpation was enacted, the forcible transformation of clan-property into the private property, in the modern sense, of the Chief. The person who stood at the head of this economical revolution was a female Mehemet Ali, who had well digested her Malthus — the Countess of Sutherland, alias Marchioness of Stafford.

Let us first state that the ancestors of the Marchioness of Stafford were the “great men” of the most northern part of Scotland, of very near three-quarters of Sutherlandshire. This country is more extensive than many French Departments or small German Principalities. when the Countess of Sutherland inherited these estates, which she afterward brought to her husband, the Marquis of Stafford, afterward Duke of Sutherland, the population of them was already reduced to 15,000. My lady Countess resolved upon a radical economical reform, and determined upon transforming the whole tract of country into sheep-walks. From 1814 to 1820, these 15,000 inhabitants, about 3,000 families, were systematically expelled and exterminated. All their villages were demolished and burned down, and all their fields converted into pasturage. British soldiers were commanded for this execution, and came to blows with the natives. An old woman refusing to quit her hut was burned in the flames of it. Thus my lady Countess appropriated to herself 794,000 acres of land, which from time immemorial had belonged to the clan. In the exuberance of her generosity she allotted to the expelled natives about 6,000 acres — two acres per family. These 6,000 acres had been lying waste until then, and brought no revenue to the proprietors. The Countess was generous enough to sell the acre at 2s 6d on an average, to the clan-men who for centuries past had shed their blood for her family. The whole of the unrightfully appropriated clan-land she divided into 29 large sheep farms, each of them inhabited by one single family, mostly English farm-laborers; and in 1821 the 15,000 Gaels had already been superseded by 131,000 sheep.

A portion of the aborigines had been thrown upon the sea-shore, and attempted to live by fishing. They became amphibious, and, as an English author says, lived half on land and half on water, and after all did not live upon both.

Sismondi, in his Etudes Sociales, observes with regard to this expropriation of the Gaels from Sutherlandshire — an example, which, by-the-by, was imitated by other “great men” of Scotland:

“The large extent of seignorial domains is not a circumstance peculiar to Britain. In the whole Empire of Charlemagne, in the whole Occident, entire provinces were usurped by the warlike chiefs, who had them cultivated for their own account by the vanquished, and sometimes by their own companions-in-arms. During the 9th and 10th centuries the Counties of Maine, Anjou, Poitou were for the Counts of these provinces rather three large estates than principalities. Switzerland, which in so many respects resembles Scotland, was at that time divided among a small number of Seigneurs. If the Counts of Kyburg, of Lenzburg, of Habsburg, of Gruyeres had been protected by British laws, they would have been in the same position as the Earls of Sutherland; some of them would perhaps have had the same taste for improvement as the Marchioness of Stafford, and more than one republic might have disappeared from the Alps in order to make room for flocks of sheep. Not the most despotic monarch in Germany would be allowed to attempt anything of the sort.”

Mr Loch, in his defense of the Countess of Sutherland (1820), replies to the above as follows:

“Why should there be made an exception to the rule adopted in every other case, just for this particular case? Why should the absolute authority of the landlord over his land be sacrificed to the public interest and to motives which concern the public only?”

And why, then, should the slave-holders in the Southern States of North America sacrifice their private interest to the philanthropic grimaces of her Grace, the Duchess of Sutherland?

The British aristocracy, who have everywhere superseded man by bullocks and sheep, will, in a future not very distant, be superseded, in turn, by these useful animals.

The process of clearing estates, which, in Scotland, we have just now described, was carried out in England in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Thomas Morus already complains of it in the beginning of the 16th century. It was performed in Scotland in the beginning of the 19th, and in Ireland it is now in full progress. The noble Viscount Palmerston, too, some years ago cleared of men his property in Ireland, exactly in the manner described above.

If of any property it ever was true that it was robbery, it is literally true of the property of the British aristocracy. Robbery of Church property, robbery of commons, fraudulent transformation, accompanied by murder, of feudal and patriarchal property into private property — these are the titles of British aristocrats to their possessions. And what services in this latter process were performed by a servile class of lawyers, you may see from an English lawyer of the last century, Dalrymple, who, in his History of Feudal Property, very naively proves that every law or deed concerning property was interpreted by the lawyers, in England, when the middle class rose in wealth in favor of the middle class — in Scotland, where the nobility enriched themselves, in favor of the nobility — in either case it was interpreted in a sense hostile to the people.

The above Turkish reform by the Countess of Sutherland was justifiable, at least, from a Malthusian point of view. Other Scottish noblemen went further. Having superseded human beings by sheep, they superseded sheep by game, and the pasture grounds by forests. At the head of these was the Duke of Atholl.

“After the conquest, the Norman Kings afforested large portions of the soil of England, in much the same way as the landlords here are now doing with the Highlands.

(R. Somers, Letters on the Highlands, 1848)

As for a large number of the human beings expelled to make room for the game of the Duke of Atholl, and the sheep of the Countess of Sutherland, where did they fly to, where did they find a home?

In the United States of America.

The enemy of British Wage-Slavery has a right to condemn Negro-Slavery; a Duchess of Sutherland, a Duke of Atholl, a Manchester Cotton-lord — never!

Notebooks (Artaud’s for example)

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 22.09.17Rereading Jay Murphy’s book Artaud’s Metamorphosis and thinking about the 30,000 pages of notes Marx is said to have written in the last ten years of his life – and which are only slowly being released through the MEGA. Then find Jay has the following on page 207:

Artaud’s last works are above all, an action, a setting of forces into motion. In examining how he accomplishes this, largely from the springboard of the copious 406 lined school notebooks of which there are some more than 30,000 pages, at times there is the temptation to mimic his method by fracturing the field, separating out the elements that come into conflict, such as sound image text, or even their constituent bodily sources, and it is by such recourse that I isolate the treatment of the face and the voice at the end of this chapter; to see better how they interact, meld, hover, disintegrate or invade other elements…

I won’t reproduce his analysis because the whole book needs to be bought, and the notes still need to be written, but along with Walter Benjamin’s obsession with certain notebooks, whatever was in that case, add also anthropology’s note-writing fix exemplified in Mick Taussig’s drawings for I swear I saw This, and the entire complex of more or less uncanny parallels that revolve around the lined page, schoolbook or not, I’m hankering to generate some sort of method for handling the detritus of the (allegedly) declining years. Plus starting a new journal for my eldest now.

Artaud’s Metamorphosis is available in Berlin at Buchhafen. Or by post from Pavement.